Did you know that ACE advocates for policies that influence the fitness community? From shared use legislation at the local level to federal tax incentives that would increase access to physical activity, we support it all. But keeping an eye on and influencing policies is only one piece of the advocacy team’s duties here at ACE. Our work includes several interconnected tactics all targeted at creating more equitable opportunities for the nation to get active and benefit from the services that well-qualified fitness professionals can offer.
Here’s a look at some of the ways we are working on behalf of our professionals:
ACE educates policymakers at the local, state and federal levels by meeting with staff and key stakeholders. This includes lobbying on the Hill for policies we feel will recognize our exercise professionals and health coaches as valuable resources in the community. We promote the importance of NCCA accreditation in the fitness industry. We publish our policy priorities for Congress in high profile D.C. publications to encourage members to prioritize health initiatives that will increase access to physical activity opportunities. We share with them the research ACE has conducted that is protecting consumers within the industry.
ACE educates our professionals by providing technical assistance and resources that allow you to become an advocate. This ranges from explaining what an advocate is to helping identify issues and/or policies in your community that you are passionate about. Our resources are shared online through social media and are distributed at the various conferences ACE attends. Another key way we educate is by holding roundtables around the country with current ACE Certified Professionals. These roundtables include conversations and brainstorming around how ACE advocates, how professionals can get involved and what areas of concern exist in the variety of communities and careers our Certified Professionals work in.
ACE collaborates with like-minded organizations to work toward shared goals. We firmly believe that to make systemic, sustainable change we must work with others who are striving to build a healthier nation. We build and serve on coalitions that are focused on physical activity, healthcare, the obesity epidemic and advancing the fitness industry. ACE is also a member of local initiatives in the San Diego area as well as several national workgroups. These groups work in areas such as childhood obesity, heart health, physical activity and physical education, and allied health. By working with adjacent and similar organizations we are able to make a larger impact on more communities.
Our advocacy work is centered around five key issues that we find important to the industry, based on the most recent science and evidence-based research: Activity in Communities, The Healthcare System, Employee Wellness, The Obesity Epidemic and The Inactivity Epidemic. Each of our key issues sheds light on national trends and gaps in getting people moving, paired with proposed policy solutions that we believe are a priority in addressing the health of our nation.
ACE not only tracks legislation that impacts the industry, but we also follow legislation that has a hand in creating easier access and more opportunities for people to be active. In turn, we also keep track of policies that would create barriers to being active, and vocally oppose them. Keeping an eye on legislation means that we must not only follow, but analyze bills, collect data and send letters to policymakers that either support or refute the proposed legislation. We even set up systems to help our professionals and the general public easily send electronic letters to their own representatives, like our PHIT Act letter. One of the most effective advocacy tools we can employ is voicing our stance in a concise, repetitious manner. Policymakers work for the people and the more voices they hear around the same message, the more likely they are to make addressing it a priority.
See how you can use advocacy to enhance your career in our blog: Advocacy – An Added Benefit to your ACE Certification.